News Archives: Elder in Residence Leonard Cardinal Welcomed at GPRC
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
GPRC is pleased to welcome Elder in Residence Leonard Cardinal to the College, where he will share his teachings and wisdom with students, faculty and staff. The Elder in Residence position was created in 2010, a joint project of GPRC and the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre (GPFC).
The Elder in Residence program provides students with a consistent and approachable Elder who can help address the struggles of being a student and give guidance on how to incorporate the traditional life with the life of being a student. Additionally, the Elder in Residence provides teachings about Aboriginal culture and spirituality, advising faculty and administration, and giving class presentations when invited to do so.
Leonard Cardinal has been an active community elder and a community lodge holder for over 20 years. He has mentored many youth in his community; he has organized camps for up to 100 youth at Wabasca and at Rock Island. He has worked as a special needs worker for Northland School Division, and with at-risk youth for Kweskipta Kipimatsowin Program (Turn your Life Around) through Bigstone Education Authority as Project Coordinator and Cultural Facilitator.
“My greatest teachings came from the land,” says Cardinal. “It taught me to live in balance with Creation and to respect life.”
Students at GPRC benefit from the support and guidance of the Elder in Residence, who has the unique ability to holistically meet the needs of the student, offering support and guidance to the student and his/her family, as well as address spiritual needs through song and ceremony. These are key elements of success for students.
“This program provides an incredible resource for students and faculty alike,” says Susan Bansgrove, Vice President Academics and Research. “ We are very fortunate to be able to provide this Elder In Residence for our institution; we thank the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre for this opportunity. Our partnership with GPFC to provide this resource is yet another enhancement of our strong program of services for Aboriginal students. GPRC is the first college in Canada to host an on-campus Friendship Centre.”